Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Fear as a writer…

Good morning! Hope all is well with everyone as we start this Thursday morning or afternoon, wherever you wonderful people are ūüėČ

Fear, everyone has felt fear at one time or the other. Don’t lie, you know you have. As a child, we had fear of strangers and storms. As adults, we have many fears. Maybe we fear financial issues, for our children, the future… etc. There are a lot of fears in this world, but I want to talk about the fear as a writer.

The moment I hit submit on Ghost Lover, the first book I published in May 2012, I was sweating. My palms were damp, my heart was racing, in easy terms, I was a mess. What if nobody likes my writing? What if this is a mistake? What if… What if… What if… Then the emails started coming from readers that fell in love with Jared and Jessie. The fear was alleviated for a moment, then came the next book and the next.

Does my fear ease with each book I publish? Some, but not completely. I’m always afraid of the unknown. Even though my books are poured over and over with edits and rewrites and such, I still have that fear that I’m sending out my work with flaws. Even the best-edited book has flaws and I have to remind myself of that. My fans are so precious and let me know every day the pleasure they get from the words I put on the page, but still, I feel like I could’ve added more to the story, went over it one more time, or even changed something.

Then there’s the fear of not selling a single book, yikes…. Yes, that’s a fear. In January, my sales went on a downward spiral and I had to catch my breath. After an amazing end of 2016, it was like a kick in the gut. But, as I sought out other authors to see if it was happening to them, they confirmed that they too were seeing a sharp decline in sales. Even the authors that normally sell thousands of copies a month were down to hundreds. Although that should make me feel better, it only made my fear worse. Had people stopped reading? LOL! Yes, it was an irrational fear, but it still came through this ditsy blonde head.

Then, the sales started to rise. Yes, my fear was going away, but then a new fear arose. Could I do more to keep that from happening again? The truth is, no. We can’t control what people do or trends, so, I picked myself up off the pity floor and moved forward.

So, as a writer, what do you fear?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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That moment…The perfect ending!

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Good morning! It’s halfway to the weekend, you can do this!

As I sat this morning, finishing the last minute edits on Promises Made, I read the last paragraph and sighed. Have you ever just really knew when you typed the perfect words to end a book? Well, that’s the moment I had this morning. But, with that being said, I also cried knowing what those last words meant for my characters and also, knowing I can’t say a word yet!!!

Promises Made is taking me to new heights as a writer. It’s different from my other historical romances and has brought me so much excitement for the storyline. I can see all three books in my head and I can’t wait for you to meet Nash and Joy. You will fall in love with them.

Joy is this sweet young woman that believes in romance and love. She’s lost everything, but gained more than she ever expected. Her humble upbringing has made her a strong woman with good morals.

Nash Collins is a rich rancher that was born as a half-breed), his mother was Cheyenne. He is fiercely¬†loyal and needs a wife. The moment they set eyes on one another, Nash knows that she’ll be his one day. But he also knows that it could be impossible until fate turns the tables.

So, be watching for the release that is coming this Friday!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Where did January go?

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already February! I feel like I just got settled into the new year and then, bam, another month has passed by in a flash. My grandmother always said, the older you get, the faster times goes by. Of course, when I was young, I thought that was the silliest thing ever. Now, I get it.

So much water has flowed under this bridge that some days I can hardly believe that I’m nearing the half-century mark. Don’t go there! I don’t feel my age and I certainly don’t act it, but it’s there none the less. And to think, my baby is graduating high school in May, what???

Another milestone I’m facing this year, but it’s a good one is that I’ve been a published author for five years. May 12th will mark Ghost Lover’s fifth year in publication. To think, this time five years ago, I was still skeptical about putting my name and work out to the public and now I’m nearing the publication of my 30th book. Yes, I said 30! That’s another thing that baffles my mind. I guess the old adage is true, time flies when you’re having fun!

This Sunday, the hubby and I will celebrate 23 years of blissful marriage. Some days it feels like just yesterday, then other days it feels like we’ve been together our whole lives. That’s what romance does to you, it blows your mind. I wouldn’t take anything for all of the adventures we’ve had and the things we’ve shared.

Now, as I sit here, getting ready to do my morning writing, I’m gazing at my calendar. Yep, I had better get off this post before I fall further behind and have to deal with my assistant’s frown. She has a tendency to look at my writing calendar and tsk tsk at me. LOL!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!


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Starting a new series?

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Well, my new series, Sky Ridge is off and running. I went to the dollar store and stocked up on these pretty composition books. Inside this notebook, you will find my character sketches, outlines, interesting facts that I’ll need while keeping true to the story line and so much more.

In order for your series to hold up, you need to keep the plotting new and exciting. Don’t do the same old thing all the way through, or the story will grow stale. Make several twists that take your reader by surprise and do a couple of turns that will have the reader wanting more.

I’ve played with this series for a while, but only when I have all three books in my head did I start the process of writing them. I wanted to make sure that the story could hold out for three books and keep the interest. This series is a historical romance that takes you on a journey filled with heartache, joy, happiness, love, suspense and yes, romance. I can’t wait to introduce you to the main characters, but I’ll keep that under wraps for a little bit longer. You’ll fall in love with them…

So, how do you plot your series?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Character Sketches…

It’s Friday! Yea! But I have some work to do. With two new series starting up this year, I have several things to do and one of those things is character sketches. If you’re asking what the heck is a character sketch, well, let me fill you in…

Alright, here goes… When you start a new book, there are several steps, but one of the most important during the writing process is the character information. Let me explain how I do my character information sheets.

1. I grab my notebook that will be for the series notes and I keep all my information in it. This notebook stays in my writing bag for quick retrieval. This is very important to have at your fingertips because if you’re halfway through book two and can’t remember what someone’s name is or what they do, you’ll need to be able to grab that without having to read book one to jog your memory.

2. First off, you need to name your characters, starting with the main ones. Then add the details. Let’s face it, when you’re writing that character, you know what they look like, but your reader doesn’t unless you show them. So, under the character sketch, you put every detail you can. I include A. Name

A. Name

B. Description: Hair color, eye color, height, build, disposition, age, birthdate, etc. You       get the idea.

C. Family that might show up in the stories. Brothers, sisters, parents, etc.

D. Where are they from and where do they live now?

E. Now, this is where the fun starts, leave plenty of room for added notes. As a story ¬† ¬† unfolds, you’ll build the character sketch. If they get a new career, get married, have children. Add anything new to the character. This helps down the road and keeps you from having to keep looking back.

3. Make sure you have one for every character you add. Well, if they are only making a one time appearance, leave them out, but if it’s even just the store owner and your character occasionally goes to the store, then you need to add them.

So, do you prepare character sketches? I didn’t for a long time and it was so frustrating, but through writing studies, I’ve learned how to make life easier. Writing is a crazy world of names, places, plots, and so much more that you have to have a way to keep it straight.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

 

 


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Daily Word Count – Real or Wishful?

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Good morning! As I sit here, typing my blog, making my Hootsuite schedule and surfing the social media world, I have to remember that I have a daily word count… Yeah, I’m supposed to meet it before I do all the above. Hope my assistant skips reading this post!!!

Anyhow… When I sat down and prepared my writing calendar for 2017, I decided to be realistic. In years past, I’ve given myself too high of a word count, then crashed and burned when I couldn’t keep up. This year, I took into account days that I’d be editing, redrafting and also had something on the calendar for that day. I also reined in my word count to make it more attainable, also lower than what I’m capable of.

As my assistant and I were working on this, I’d say a word count and she’d raise an eyebrow, then I’d lower until the eyebrow relaxed. What’s sad is that my writing calendar has room for me to post my daily progress, yikes that’s scary. SO far in 2017, I’m officially behind on my word count, which means I’ve got to up my game to catch up.

So, if you’re asking, how do I set my word count to be realistic, not wishful thinking, well, let me enlighten you. Over a couple of days, sit down and time yourself while you write. Also keep up with the number of words. If you have a day job, take into account the time you have available to write, which you need to try every day to make a little available time. Then, figure up what you can do.

For me, I write when my hubby goes to work and my son to school. I have two hours until I have to be in the office, so I try to write for at least an hour. During which time I’m boiling my morning egg, and eating said egg… yes, while I’m writing. Then I have time to shower and run across the driveway to open my accounting office. I also try to get in at least an hour in the evening. Of course, the weekends are my catch up time. I spend a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday filling in for the lost words from the busy week.

So, how do you schedule your word count? Is it realistic or wishful thinking?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Go by and check out my website which has been revamped for the new year! www.stephaniehurtauthor.com¬†and if you want to keep up with me and get cool stuff, sign up for my street team…

 


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Saturday morning ramblings…

Good morning! First off, I need everyone’s help in voting for the Solstice Author of the Year! Here’s the link:¬†http://solsticepublishing.com/vote-for-author-of-the-year/¬†so please go by and vote. Voting will make you eligible for goodies.

Now, on to my post for the day. As I’ve been talking about this week, I have designed a neat calendar that helps me somewhat stay on track. But as most writers know, things happen, things change.

I’ve tried several kinds of calendars and nothing really worked for me, so, I sat down and figured this out. I knew that having a whole month in front of me just stressed me out. I don’t need to be reminded that I have something releasing in two weeks or have 20,000 words to do before the end of the month.

The calendar I created is a weekly calendar. Yes, I know there are hundreds of those out there, but not like the one I created. I made it large enough to fit a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. each day has a large enough square that I can write the name of the book or books for each day, the word count I need to do to stay on schedule, and I can also put how far I am from finishing. Also, I have a side column for each day that gives me room for notes and thoughts that I can use for future projects or just character adjusts. Then I can mark those off as I go.

So, forgive the amateurimg_2473¬†photo, I’m not a photographer, just a writer…

As I said, it’s nothing fancy, but it works really good for me. I have enough room to be wordy if I need to be. Also, and I stress this heavily, use a pencil for your entries. That way when life comes in and wrecks your schedule, you can just erase and move on.

On release days, write those in colored pencil, that way they stand out. Yes, I need something to jog my memory or I’ll go right by the release day and forget all about it…

This is just the way I do things… Hope it helps. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a book on being a Self-Published author, but we’ll see where that fits into my schedule. My assistant informed me that the books I now have scheduled go into 2018, but I may have to squeeze it in. At least I have the room to write it in…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…